Irish comedian Danny O’Brien ‘giving back’ through free workshops to help homeless

Danny O’Brien

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Former social worker and comedian Danny O’Brien is ‘giving back’, running free comedy seminars to help those affected by mental health issues and the housing crisis.

The funnyman believes laughter is the best medicine and has been working on a series of workshops to help those in homeless accommodation to have the confidence to get on the housing ladder.

The former youth worker has worked in homeless and addiction services and in the temporary accommodation sector and understands first hand that confidence is key to finding stability.

Dubliner Danny, 34, told the Irish Mirror: “I plan on doing comedy and confidence building workshops soon.

“I’m putting a TD pilot together, I’m really keen to facilitate the workshops in some of the homeless services, I think it’s huge for people’s confidence if they’re trying to get a house.

“It’s tough enough, we have a housing crisis for people to even have the confidence to have an interview for housing is huge.

“I’m marrying the two backgrounds, any of us could be homeless tomorrow.

“Look at the way the country is at the moment."

With many performers eating into all their savings and getting odd jobs here and there, Danny knows he was one of the lucky ones to survive.

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He added: “I managed to stay busy and diversify with gigs abroad, but if I had dependents my life would be very different now.

“Many performers I know had to go and get jobs.

“There was so much uncertainty, there was no end in sight for so long.”

This comes as the Galway Comedy Festival is in full swing and Danny is set to perform with Deirdre O’Kane and Bobby Davro for the bank holiday weekend.

After gigging around the world the award winning comic is looking forward to performing on home soil.

He said: “The Galway comedy festival is set to be incredible, I’m back on stage with Deirdre O’Kane this Sunday with Bobby Davro, it’s an absolute powerhouse of a line-up.

“I’ve been doing this for 12 years, nobody sees the years and years of the long road, I feel so privileged to be in Galway now.

“I’m doing two of the biggest shows of the weekend, the first on Saturday the 23rd with Steve Hughes, an incredible Australian comic, and Enya Martin who’s had 60 million-plus views.”

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Giving back during the pandemic kept him sane as he helped to raise over €100,000 through online shows and fundraisers for The Irish Cancer Society, Pieta House and Wexford Women’s Refuge.

He added: “During the pandemic I did a ridiculous amount of online shows and teaching kids workshops.

“We did comedy confidence building workshops for transition year students in schools all over the country.

“I’m going to be teaching comedy workshops for adults in two weeks.

"A lot of teenagers across the nation had so much screen time and hardly any interaction, it’s been really tough on them.

“The workshops were a great way of getting them out of their shell, giving them their confidence back.”

Things are finally getting back to normal for the entertainment industry, he hopes.

He said: “I feel we just need to get back to normal, we’ve the highest vaccination rate of everywhere, we need to be fully back at this point.”

See www.galwaycomedyfestival.ie

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